The Giants appear to be rounding into form as they enter the final weekend of Spring Training action in Arizona. The club’s starting pitchers are gearing up for their final Cactus League tuneups, while many of the regular position players, most notably Donovan Solano and Mike Yastrzemski, are heating up at the plate in anticipation of Thursday's opener in Seattle.
The Giants will have some tough personnel decisions to make before finalizing their 26-man Opening Day roster, particularly since the bullpen competition is likely to come down to the wire.
As we wait for those decisions to shake out, here’s a look back at the most notable events that took place at Giants camp this spring:
In February, Logan Webb appeared to be on the outside looking in for the Giants’ rotation. The club had signed three veteran starters -- Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Aaron Sanchez -- to pair with holdovers Kevin Gausman and Johnny Cueto, bumping Webb down the depth chart and raising the possibility that the 24-year-old right-hander could open the season in the Minors.
But Webb has emerged as the Giants’ most electric starter this spring, firing 11 scoreless innings with three hits allowed, 17 strikeouts and one walk over four Cactus League starts. His spotless performance should be enough to secure a spot in the rotation to start the season, especially since Wood has been dealing with back stiffness and might not be ready for Opening Day. Webb has recorded a 5.36 ERA since debuting with the Giants in 2019, but he has the potential to develop into a quality Major League starter and appears poised to take a huge step forward in '21.
Dedniel Núñez looked like he’d have a chance to be the Giants’ most impactful Rule 5 Draft pick in recent years, but his bid for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen came to an abrupt end when he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The 24-year-old reliever is expected to miss the entire 2021 season after opting for Tommy John surgery, which is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
“I feel a ton of empathy for him,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “And frankly, it's pretty disappointing for us as the Giants as well. He was throwing the ball so well.”
First baseman Brandon Belt also missed the beginning of camp with a bout of mononucleosis, which left him bedridden for over a week. Belt finally feels back to normal and has recovered his strength, but he remains questionable for Opening Day.
Player who opened eyes
Outfield prospect Heliot Ramos showed off his tantalizing promise by emerging as one of the Giants’ hottest hitters this spring, batting .412 (14-for-34) with three home runs and six RBIs over 18 Cactus League games. The 21-year-old from Puerto Rico isn’t viewed as a candidate for the Opening Day roster and is likely to open the season at Double-A Richmond, but his performance is the latest indication that he could be ready to contribute at the big league level sooner rather than later.
The Giants believe Ramos possesses the necessary tools to remain in center field, which could help accelerate his path to the Majors, given the club’s shallow depth at the position.
Ramos, who is ranked the Giants’ No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, turned heads when he crushed two home runs against the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark on March 7. Two days later, Ramos homered again against the Brewers, producing a moonshot that traveled beyond the flagpoles in left-center field at American Family Fields of Phoenix.
“That’s about as far as you’ll ever see one hit here,” Brewers broadcaster Brian Anderson remarked.
In case you missed it
Meet Laura Núñez, the Giants’ manager of education and cultural development who is “as impactful as anyone,” especially for the club’s Latin American prospects.